10 Information Architecture Interview Questions and Answers for UX Researchers

flat art illustration of a UX Researcher
If you're preparing for ux researcher interviews, see also our comprehensive interview questions and answers for the following ux researcher specializations:

1. Can you describe the process of conducting a card sorting exercise?

Card sorting is a user research method that we use in the Information Architecture (IA) phase of our UX projects. It helps us understand how users categorize and group information based on their mental models.

  1. Planning: First, we identify the objectives of the card sorting activity, such as the categories we want to test or the hypotheses we want to validate. We also recruit participants who represent our target users or customers.
  2. Preparation: We create physical or digital cards with the items we want to test, such as website pages, products, features, or concepts. Each card has a single item and a label or description. We also prepare a set of instructions and a consent form for the participants.
  3. Execution: We conduct the card sorting exercise either in person or remotely, depending on the availability and preferences of the participants. We explain the instructions and the purpose of the exercise, and we ask the participants to sort the cards into groups that make sense to them. We also encourage them to provide feedback or comments on why they chose each group and how they named it. We can also use software tools like OptimalSort or Websort to collect and analyze the data.
  4. Analysis: We review the results of the card sorting activity and identify patterns and themes in the participants' grouping and labeling. We can use methods like affinity diagramming, cluster analysis, or dendrograms to visualize the data and find insights. For example, we may discover that most participants grouped the cards based on the type of product or service, the stage of the customer journey, or the level of complexity. We can also calculate quantitative metrics like the similarity matrix, the cluster cohesion, or the entropy to measure the consistency and agreement among the participants.
  5. Reporting: We summarize the findings of the card sorting activity and share them with the stakeholders and the team. We may also create personas, user journeys, or site maps based on the results. For example, we may recommend changes to the navigation structure, the labeling conventions, or the content organization of a website. We can also compare the results of different card sorting sessions or different user segments to identify variations and outliers.

Overall, card sorting is a useful and flexible tool for UX researchers to understand the users' mental models and inform the design of the information architecture. By conducting a card sorting exercise, we can gain insights and data that can help us make better decisions and improve the user experience.

2. What are some strategies you use when designing information architecture for large, complex websites?

When I design information architecture for large, complex websites, I start by understanding the user's needs and tasks through user research and analytics data. Then, I use the following strategies:

  1. Creating a clear hierarchical structure: I organize the content into categories and subcategories, ensuring that each page has a clear and logical place within the larger structure.
  2. Implementing faceted search: Faceted search allows users to filter content by multiple attributes, which reduces cognitive load and makes it easier for users to find the information they need. In a previous project, implementing faceted search increased the percentage of successful searches from 60% to 85%.
  3. Using labeling conventions: I adhere to consistent labeling conventions throughout the website to ensure users can quickly understand the navigation system. In a previous project, using consistent labeling conventions reduced bounce rates by 15%.
  4. Implementing a breadcrumb navigation: A breadcrumb navigation shows users where they are within the hierarchical structure and allows them to easily backtrack if necessary. In a previous project, implementing a breadcrumb navigation reduced the number of clicks required to find information by 20%.
  5. Creating a style guide: A style guide ensures consistency in design, language, and layout, which helps users navigate the website more efficiently. In a previous project, using a style guide reduced the average time spent on the website by 10%.

By using these strategies, I have seen concrete results in the form of increased user satisfaction, reduced bounce rates, and improved search success rates.

3. How would you design the information architecture for a mobile app?

When it comes to designing the information architecture for a mobile app, there are several factors to consider:

  1. Content Inventory: I would start by taking a detailed inventory of all the content that needs to be included in the app. This would involve identifying the key features and functionalities that the app would provide, and breaking down the content into categories and subcategories. Once I have this information, I would use it to create a content map, which would outline the hierarchy of information.

  2. User Research: Before designing the information architecture of the mobile app, I would conduct extensive research on the target audience and their needs. This would involve conducting user interviews, surveys, and user testing to get a better understanding of how users interact with similar apps and what they expect from the app. By doing this, I will have a clear picture of how the app should be structured, in terms of the key features and functionalities that the users value most.

  3. Information Structure: Based on the content inventory and user research, I would create a navigation structure that is intuitive and easy to use. This would involve grouping related content together and designing a navigation menu or icon that directs users to the desired location. I would also ensure that the most important information or features are easily accessible from the homepage, with clear calls to action.

  4. Wireframes: Once the navigation structure is finalized, I would start designing low-fidelity wireframes that outline the key screens and functions of the app. This would give me a better idea of how the content should be presented and how users would interact with the app. I would then share the wireframes with stakeholders and users for feedback and incorporate their feedback into the final design.

  5. Usability Testing: Finally, I would conduct user testing to ensure that the design is intuitive and user-friendly. This would involve observing users as they interact with the app and tracking their behavior and feedback. Based on the results, I would refine the design and make necessary changes to improve the user experience.

By following these steps, I am confident that I can design an information architecture for a mobile app that meets the needs of users and provides a seamless user experience. For example, when I designed the information architecture for a previous mobile app, user engagement increased by 30% and the bounce rate decreased by 20%. This was reflected in increased revenue and user retention rates.

4. What tools do you use to map out information architecture?

One of my go-to tools for mapping out information architecture is Treejack by Optimal Workshop. This tool allows me to create a tree structure of all the pages on a website, and then test the findability of specific pages or topics.

For example, when redesigning a university website, I used Treejack to test the organization of the academic programs section. I created a tree structure of all the different departments and programs, and then had participants complete tasks such as "Find the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science program".

  1. 83% of participants were successful in finding the correct program within 30 seconds
  2. 17% of participants were unable to find the correct program within 30 seconds

Based on these results, we made some changes to the organization of the academic programs section and re-tested using Treejack. The new design resulted in:

  • 100% of participants were successful in finding the correct program within 30 seconds

Another tool I frequently use is Card Sorting, which allows me to gather insights on how users group and label content. For example, when working on a healthcare website, I used Card Sorting to explore how users would expect to find information related to medical conditions.

Through this process, I was able to identify clear categories for the different types of medical conditions and gain insights into which terminology was most commonly understood by users. We were then able to implement these categories and labels into the website's information architecture, resulting in:

  • A 20% increase in search usage, indicating that users were able to successfully find information on medical conditions more easily
  • A 10% increase in pageviews for the medical conditions section of the website

Overall, I am constantly exploring new tools and techniques for mapping out information architecture and gathering insights from users.

5. Can you walk me through your approach to information architecture when testing a new product?

When approaching the information architecture of a new product, I first start by gathering as much information as possible about the target users and their needs. This includes conducting user research through surveys or user interviews, as well as analyzing any available data on user behavior and preferences.

  1. Define the primary user personas and their goals.
  2. Create a sitemap or information hierarchy based on these goals
  3. Conduct card sorting activities with users to test and refine the hierarchy
  4. Develop wireframes for key pages based on the information hierarchy
  5. Conduct usability testing to evaluate the effectiveness of the information structure and make adjustments as necessary

For example, in my previous position as a UX Researcher for an e-commerce platform, I followed this approach when redesigning the checkout flow. Through user research, I found that users often abandoned their purchase midway through the checkout process due to confusion or frustration with the information presented.

To address this issue, I first defined the primary user personas and their goals, such as completing a purchase quickly and easily. Next, I created a sitemap for the checkout flow based on these goals, and tested it through card sorting activities with users to ensure it was intuitive and easy to understand.

From there, I developed wireframes for key pages in the checkout flow based on the information hierarchy, and conducted usability testing to evaluate how well the information structure was working for users. Through this process, I was able to identify and correct areas of confusion or frustration, resulting in a checkout flow that was more streamlined and user-friendly.

6. How do you prioritize information in the design process?

When it comes to prioritizing information in the design process, I first start by understanding the user's needs and goals through user research and testing. Based on this data, I create user personas and user flows to identify the most important and commonly used features or content.

  1. Next, I use analytics data to inform the prioritization of content. I look at metrics such as pageviews, bounce rates, and time on page to understand what information users are looking for and how they interact with it.
  2. I also analyze internal data, such as sales numbers and customer support inquiries, to determine which information is most important to the business and its goals.
  3. Once I have this information, I create a content hierarchy, placing the most important information at the forefront and ensuring it is easily accessible to the user.

In a recent project I worked on, I used this approach to prioritize content for a mobile app. Through user research and testing, we found that users were primarily interested in two features: finding nearby restaurants and making reservations. Using analytics data, we found that users spent the most time on the restaurant search page and had a high conversion rate for reservation bookings.

  • Based on this data, we made the restaurant search and reservation features the top priority in the design process. We placed them prominently on the home screen and made sure they were easily accessible throughout the app.
  • We also deprioritized features that were not frequently used or had low conversion rates, such as the user profile page and social sharing features.
  • As a result, the app saw a 20% increase in daily users and a 15% increase in reservation bookings in the first month after launch.

Overall, my approach to prioritizing information involves a mix of user research, analytics, and business goals to create a content hierarchy that places the most important information at the forefront and meets the needs of both the user and the business.

7. How do you ensure that the information architecture is intuitive for users?

As a UX researcher, I understand the importance of creating an intuitive information architecture for users. To ensure this, I take the following steps:

  1. Conduct user research: I start by conducting user research to understand how users navigate through information and what they expect to find in each section. Based on their feedback, I make sure that the information is organized in a logical way so that users can easily find what they are looking for.

  2. Use card sorting: I use card sorting to get an idea of how users group information. This helps me organize information based on user preferences and create a structure that is familiar and intuitive to them.

  3. Create a clear hierarchy: I make sure that the information hierarchy is clear and easy to understand. This helps users navigate through the site easily and find what they are looking for.

  4. Test with prototypes: I create prototypes and test them with users to get feedback on the organization of the information. Based on their feedback, I make necessary changes to improve the organization.

  5. Measure success: To ensure that the information architecture is working correctly, I use analytics to measure user behavior on the site. If users are able to find what they are looking for easily, and engagement metrics such as time on site and bounce rate are positive, it can be concluded that the information architecture is successful.

As a result of these steps, I have successfully created an intuitive information architecture for a healthcare website where users were able to find the necessary information quickly and easily. Engagement metrics such as time on site and bounce rate improved, indicating a successful implementation of an intuitive information architecture.

8. What considerations do you take into account when designing hierarchical menus?

When designing hierarchical menus, my approach is to ensure that the menu is intuitive and easy to navigate for the user. To achieve this, I take the following considerations into account:

  1. Grouping: I group related items together to create a clear and concise structure. For example, if designing a menu for an e-commerce website, I would group items by category like Clothing, Accessories, Shoes, etc.
  2. Breadth vs. Depth: I strike a balance between the breadth and depth of the menu hierarchy. While too many levels can be overwhelming, too few can be limiting. I use user testing to determine what level of hierarchy works best for the target audience.
  3. Information Scent: The menu items should give a clear indication of what content lies within them, giving the user a idea of what to expect when clicking. I make use of descriptive and concise labels, and avoid technical jargon when possible.
  4. Visual design: A well-designed hierarchy should be visually appealing and easy to scan. I use whitespace and font size to create a visual hierarchy, making it easier for the user to focus on the most important items.
  5. Consistency: Consistency is key to usability. It helps users to become familiar with the hierarchy and quickly find what they're looking for. I apply consistent labeling, ordering, and styling throughout the menu.

To ensure that my approach works, I conducted a usability test on a new hierarchical menu design for a large e-commerce website. The results showed that 95% of users found the new menu structure intuitive and user-friendly. Additionally, time-on-task decreased by an average of 30 seconds, showing that the new menu design also increased efficiency.

9. What is your experience with creating taxonomies and how do you ensure they are effective?

During my tenure at XYZ Corporation, I had the opportunity to create a taxonomy for a product database that contained over 10,000 items. My team and I began by conducting a thorough content analysis to identify the most relevant categories and subcategories for the items. We also consulted with the product experts to gather their input on the most important attributes for the items.

  1. Step 1: Content analysis to identify relevant categories and subcategories
  2. Step 2: Consultation with product experts to gather input on important attributes
  3. Step 3: Mapping of items to appropriate categories and subcategories
  4. Step 4: Evaluation of the taxonomy's effectiveness through user testing and analytics

To ensure the taxonomy's effectiveness, we conducted user testing with a small group of customers to gather feedback on the organization and labeling of the items. We also monitored the analytics to track the search behaviors of customers and made adjustments accordingly. As a result of our efforts, the taxonomy led to a 25% decrease in the time it took customers to find the products they were looking for.

Overall, my experience with creating taxonomies taught me the importance of conducting thorough research and gathering input from various stakeholders. It also reinforced the importance of continuous evaluation and adjustment based on user feedback and analytics.

10. How do you ensure that the information architecture aligns with the business goals and user needs?

For me, ensuring that the information architecture aligns with both the business goals and user needs is a critical step in creating a successful user experience. To do this, I follow a specific process:

  1. Research: I start by conducting extensive research to understand both the business goals and user needs. This research may include user interviews, focus groups, surveys, and competitor analysis.
  2. Analyze: After gathering data from the research, I analyze it to identify common themes and patterns. This helps to identify the most important user needs and align them with business goals.
  3. Create: With the research and analysis in hand, I create a detailed information architecture that aligns with both the business goals and user needs. This is usually done in collaboration with designers, developers, and other stakeholders.
  4. Test: Once the information architecture is designed, I test it to ensure that it is effective in achieving the business goals and meeting the user needs. This involves testing various scenarios to ensure the navigation and labels are clear and easily accessible.
  5. Refine: Based on the test results, I refine the information architecture until it achieves optimal alignment with business goals and user needs. By creating a solid information architecture, I find that I am able to create an intuitive user experience, increase engagement, and achieve the desired business results.

One of the most successful implementations of this process was when I was working for an e-commerce company. By aligning the information architecture with user needs and business goals, we were able to increase website traffic by 25%, improve engagement by 30%, and reduce bounce rate by 20%. This resulted in a 15% increase in sales within the first quarter of implementing the new information architecture.


In conclusion, a successful interview requires preparation and research. These 10 Information Architecture interview questions serve as a guide to help UX Researchers prepare for their next interview. However, you should also devote time writing a great cover letter and preparing an impressive CV. Lastly, if you're looking for a new job, we encourage you to search through our remote UX Research job board. Our job board features a variety of remote positions from top companies around the world. Best of luck in your job search!

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